Are Weekends For Rest?

Shock of all shocks, K did not complete the coldframe yesterday. 🙂  At this point, I will be grateful if it gets done before the first frost, and am not holding my breath since that could be any day. I know how it is with my husband. 🙂 Oh well, at least we’ll have it for the Spring next year.

Farmers market was pretty good yesterday, but the one day I decide to buy a new basil plant, the herb people don’t come!  I bought a hydroponically grown basil plant instead, and am planning to try to make pesto again later this week, but hopefully the herb vendor will be back next week because I want to buy another one to plant over the winter in a pot.  The one I’ve had for the last 2 years is on its way out.

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  • 1/2 gallon apple cider from Maynard Farms
  • 1/2 gallon of reduced-fat milk and 1 quart of cream from Battenkill Creamery
  • 1 basil plant from Shushan Valley Hydro Farm
  • 1 dozen eggs from Coopers Ark Farm
  • 8 oz. feta cheese from Heamour Farm
  • 1 quart tomatoes (only 2 pictured here), 2 green peppers and 1 acorn squash (hidden beneath the basil plant) from Barber Farm
  • 1lb ground beef from Sweet Tree farm
  • 1 apple turnover from Our Daily bread

The feta cheese was very wet this week, so it was on “sale” for $2 – when normally it’s double that! She said it didn’t drain properly or something, but we took it to make pizza with this week.

And, speaking of Coopers Ark Farm (above), we pre-ordered our turkey this week from them!  This is going to be the first time we will ever have a local turkey for Thanksgiving and I’m so excited!  We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and ideally, hubby and I would love to serve an all-local meal.  But our families will insist on bringing things and we know those things won’t be local, so it probably isn’t going to happen.  But at the very least our turkey will be!  We put in an order for 16-20lbs yesterday but then changed it to even smaller (max of 16lbs) because we’re not sure how many people we’re going to have over.  It could be anywhere from 4 to 13! Two of my family members are nurses and don’t know if they will be working that day, and that would then count their significant others out too.  Then, we’re pretty far away from everyone so logistics have to be worked out.

At the very least though, we’re planning on the turkey, acorn squash, pumpkin and apple pies, all being made with local ingredients.  The hubby has recently found a venison farm near here that we want to check out too.

I have to say, I often get frustrated with where I live because I grew up downstate close to NYC, so often times I feel stuck in the middle of nowhere.  But on the other hand, I absolutely love the amount and variety of farms and locavorism community that cannot be found downstate – at least not on as big a scale.

After the market, while hubby worked on the coldframe, I whipped up some salsa.  I bought more tomatoes this week to make some more canned salsa, because I enjoyed the jar we cracked open this past week and we only made 3 jars a couple months ago – not nearly enough to get us through till next year!  But I felt like some fresh salsa, so I took 2 tomatoes from the quart I bought, a bit of green pepper, 2 jalapeños from our deck pots, 1 red chili pepper from the garden, and two of my onions (hanging downstairs in the closet on my onion braids), and tons of cilantro.  A little lime juice and we were set.

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Man, let me tell you, these were the freshest ingredients ever, made from veggies that were literally picked the day before or even the day of.  And my onions, man, I love them.  They are so crisp, so potent, I am so excited about growing them again next year. 🙂

This weekend I also FINALLY made cherry jam, thus bringing to an end our jamming efforts for the season.  I used two cups more cherries than the recipe called for and it still only brought me the amount of cherry jam I was supposed to get for two cups less.  Gosh darn it.  And again, all the berries were so full of water this year, the jam is more syrupy than jam-like.  Still, it’s delicious.  And here is our pantry shelf full of jam.  Yes, we have 25 1/2 pints of jam, and one 1/4 pint.  Ridiculous. If we don’t give this away for Christmas, I’m not sure we need to make any jam next year.

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Not to mention we have 4 opened jars of jam in the fridge already (the leftovers each time we made jam that didn’t fill up a full jar, so we just stuck it in the fridge).

In the pic, we have:

  • blackberry
  • blueberry
  • raspberry
  • cherry
  • strawberry

Craziness.

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Cherry Jam

It’s cherry season in the northeast!

Well, it’s almost cherry season.  Actually, strawberry season is approaching quickly, but alas, it seems I will be missing out on both this year due to my surgery :(. K and I are going to try to squeeze in some quick strawberry picking this weekend before we leave for Boston. I’m going to see if I can just freeze the berries and make them into jam later in the summer when I’m recovering and home from work.

In the meantime, today’s post is on my adventure making cherry jam last year.  There’s lots of websites out there that tell you exactly what you need to make jam, but here are the highlights:

You DON’T need a real boiling water canner.  In fact, K and I just use the largest stockpot we own, which I think is around 12 quarts.  We use the rack that came with our crockpot to hold the jars within the pot, so the there’s some space between the bottom of the jars and the bottom of the pot.

First you need to sterilize your lids and bands.

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Sterilizing lids and bands

Then you need to sterilize your mason jars.  If you have a bigger pot, you can sterilize bigger jars and more of them, but this is all we can do at one time.

Sterilizing the mason jars

Sterilizing the mason jars

Then you need to pit lots and lots of cherries – a full quart.  Lots of cherries will be consumed while doing this task 🙂  Afterwards, giving them a quick chop in the food processor is needed.  Don’t chop them to a pulp, just a little bit.

Chopping up the previously pitted cherries

Chopping up the previously pitted cherries

After that, crush up the cherries a little bit.  This helps release pectin as well.

Chopped cherries.

Chopped cherries.

Combine the cherries, lots o’ sugar (6 cups worth!) and pectin into a large saucepot and bring it to a boil.

Cooking down the cherries

Cooking down the cherries

When its ready, ladle it into the mason jars that have been sitting in the canner, sterilizing.

Ladling the cherries into jars

Ladling the cherries into jars

Using the magnet stick, take the lids out of the boiling water and affix it to the job of the jar.  Be careful to keep everything as sterile as you can!

Magnet

Magnet

Lid is on

Lid is on

Finally, screw on the bands and voila, jam! Leave it out to cool down to room temperature for 12-24 hours. As the jam cools, you’ll hear a “ping!” as the jar cools.  The air in the jar starts contracting and sucks down the lid creating a sort of vacuum.  If you don’t hear a ping, you can still check physically to see if the lids has been sucked down.  If in 12-24 hours, the seal hasn’t formed, you can repeat the process with a new lid.  Or you can just stick that jar in the fridge and use it as needed without processing.  At least that’s what we did, without a problem!

FCherry jam

Cherry jam

I am so sad I’m going to miss cherry picking this year but my MIL has promised me she will save me 15lbs or so when she goes.  I can’t wait to make some jam for next year! We are just finishing our last jar of cherry jam from last year now and I enjoy every bite!